A new year, everyone is busy making resolutions and deciding who they will become this year or where they want to be at the end of it. Some will talk of investments, others will concentrate on relationships yet the message will be futuristic in both cases. And like a business, there will be continuity from where one is, a going concern, an assurance that just as the sun rises, they too will be alive at the end of today, tomorrow, at the end of the year, next year. In all this will be hope for the future
But there remain amongst us those who have received reports from the world, of impending danger; of life about to be cut short, of illnesses and diseases that doctors cannot only diagnose but also those that they have no treatment for. Reports from rehabilitation centres that those we love have succumbed once again to drugs and alcohol and that there is no hope for them this time round. But these remain just that-reports from the world because there is a greater power than can ever be envisaged; the power of God. A power left to us by Jesus Christ in the words 'believe'. How often he asked the question 'do you believe' before healing? Oh the number of times he asked those who approached him to ignore the crowds and just believe! Oh the lesson of the mustard seed. Or the faith of Abraham in getting ready to sacrifice Isaac! Oh the faith that made Lazarus respond to the loud voice of the Lord even in death!
The reports we receive should always be placed alongside scripture. When Christ first appeared to the disciples, the doubting Thomas was not with them and later when he was told about the former's appearance, he said that he had to see for himself and even confirm by touching the wounds of his master. His embarrassment ended in the words, 'My Lord and my God'. Need we wait to be embarrassed by Christ's physical appearance before we can believe that he meant to heal us all along? Did he not heal of old that we may believe that he can still heal today? Did he not say that people's belief will be made easier on seeing the miracles brought on by the disciples through the mention of his name?
If you have been struggling with something such as an illness, an errant husband, a defiant wife, single hood, or a burden for a long time, it is time to take Christ on at his word. Believe that he can change things now! Believe!
You may be feeling, like I have recently, as if your strength is depleting, like the fire in you is dying out, as if there is no hope in your heart and as if another day is a burden to you. Take heart and take him at his word; 'that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we would be able to move mountains'. Believe in restoration, in healing and in his loving presence when things look really bad.
He means you well and you will realize that at your lowest ebb, it is what you believe about him that sustains you; this is what holds you together and prevents you from falling apart.
Learn to talk to yourself about him. Remind him that you are sure of his miracle in your life. Tell him that you may be down and out to the world but you await the moment that he will pass you by and like the woman with the issue of blood who seized the moment, you too will hang onto him and never let him go.
It is what you say to yourself in these moments of desperate, incoherent, delirium that brings your deliverance. Mutter to him, let your lips move in desperate prayer like Hannah who prayed for a child and had the prophet thinking that she was drunk. Intercede for those you pray for and for yourself, weep in his presence; let your heart be broken, humbled and contrite in his arms. Do not worry about the world or the reports of the world, just believe that he will heal you or those you love and he surely will. It is your testimony that you are preparing. And if you truly believe, you will be delivered from the situation. You will be lifted up and will once again eat with the Kings.
Tell him in no uncertain terms of his greatness, of his mercies and love that endure forever, of who he has been in your life, of his salvation and where he picked you up from. Ask him not to leave you when you most need him. Remind him of who he is in your life and how the rest of the ground is sinking sand except for the rock that he is; the one that you stand on. Keep praying, as I am. He will show up, eventually, in the fullness of time. Just believe that too.
The Scriptures help us know how to talk to God through Christ. Christ came to explain the Scriptures but he never went contrary to the Word. When John asked that Christ should baptize him instead, the latter refused and said that Scriptural prophesy had to be fulfilled. At the cross (John 19:28) Christ said, 'I am thirsty' and Scripture was fulfilled. His very birth and appearance on earth had been foretold. He personified the Scriptures.
Our lives must be like that of Christ. He lived the script, God's script-that of the Scriptures; in word, deed and prophesy. We too should take him at his word, the Word in the Scriptures; all that he did, he still does. He still delivers, he still heals. He is our wonderful counselor, the Prince of peace, the everlasting Father. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, 'For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you'. Believe!
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.